Whereas his past work brought viewers in close, like a whisper, Andy Kehoe’s newest series of mixed-media paintings is more like a cry from a mountain top. Kehoe explores the broad terrain of the mystical forests we’ve visited before, opening a new chapter in the vignettes he has been weaving through his past solo shows in recent years. He creates depth by alternating layers of paint with resin, giving his paintings a shadow-box effect. His latest body of work — premiering this Thursday, June 5, at Roq La Rue in Seattle for his solo show “Inner Mystic” — marks a turning point in his aesthetic.
The time of day and the cycle of the moon play important roles in these paintings. Kehoe infuses the skies with dimly lit hues of green and red, creating a marble-like effect. His characters appear small under these sweeping vistas. The pieces inspire us to consider our smallness in the grand scheme of the universe. Kehoe’s ambiguous, animal-like characters emerge from behind trees like spirits of the forest. The artist says that viewers are encouraged to create their own narratives. “In the most successful cases, I’m sharing a connection with someone through my work, and they’re creating their own personal mysticism and mythology in relation to mine,” he wrote in his artist statement.
Redd Walitzki’s “When We Break” debuts the evening of June 5 alongside Kehoe’s “Inner Mystic.” The Seattle-based artist goes through an intricate process to create her paintings. The shapes of the panels are laser-cut based on preliminary watercolor sketches and then painted with layers of oil glazes. The effects are ornate, even baroque, yet softened by Walitzki’s preference for a pastel, spring-time color palette.
Redd Walitzki’s “When We Break” and Andy Kehoe’s “Inner Mystic” both open on June 5 will be on view through June 28.